PLEASE READ BEFORE SENDING TODD A QUESTION!!!
A majority of the questions sent to Todd have answers lying in his multiple award winning instructional “Methods and Mechanics I & II” DVDs. Please check those references first, and if you are truly a fan you would have these already! (they are available from the store on this site.) Todd is happy to answer your questions but please refrain from asking for backstage passes to meet the band, autographs, personal favors, etc. Notes containing that sort of content will go ignored and unpublished. Sorry, but that’s how it must be. So if you have a question about drums, drumming, the music business, whatever, send them to: ( Aquapulserecords@aol.com ) Normal posting time for new batches of questions and answers is about every three months or so.
November – 2015
Haven’t wrote you in a while but I hope all is well with you and yours.
I’ll try to keep this simple. Key word, TRY.
I’ve noticed this lick in many of your live solos and during your free-form segment at MD ’08. However, to help navigate this better, I’ll refer to the track from Methods and Mechanics I “Thanks Mr. Smith.” Early into the track, you’re riding the shuffle pattern on your 14″floor tom. And then you sprinkle in this magical 32nd note run from down to up to down again on the toms. You do this a few times before moving into the double bass/tom destruction. It seems like it could be some sort of inverted paradiddle pattern but I just can’t crack it, and it’s killing me.
I really hope I communicated my issue well enough for you to understand the run I’m referring to.
Anyhow, Thanks again for being a true inspiration.
Thanks for the note, and I’m really sorry that I can’t help you decipher what the figure is but I can direct to to some help….and the answer you seek is in the Methods and Mechanics Transcription Book. It’s available from Hudson Music at the link below, and I think the E-book is only 13 bucks. It has all the tunes, all the solos, a CD, and new text from myself and co author Brad Schlueter. Brad spent a million hours transcribing everything! So it’s in there, I promise. I hope you pick it up and that it solves the mystery, and that it gives you a million more ideas.
Hi Todd thank you so much for reading this as I know you’re a busy man. My name is Justin Church I am 17 and I live here in Bozeman Montana. You have been a huge inspiration to me along my drumming path and want to thank you deeply for the amazing music and inspiration that you and STYX have been given me as a fan.
Earlier this summer I attended the summer program and Berklee College of Music where many of my heroes(including you of course) attended. I was continually surprised and how many drummer loved your signature sticks after I let them try them out from my stick bag.
I have one question and I’m sorry I took up so much of your time with a long email. During the Gowan sessionx videos there was a song that had the cowbells in it. Strange Animal I believe. I really liked the cowbells and found them very musical, but couldn’t find a sound source for them. Were they triggered by you or someone else? Or was there another percussionist that wasn’t shown?
In regards to last nights show I’d like to thank you one last time for throwing me a shirt. It was a small inconvenience that the man in front caught it first, but simply being noticed by your heroes was more than enough for me last night. Once again thank you so very much for all you’ve done for me and the drumming community.
Thanks for the lovely note. Your kind words and support is very appreciated indeed! I hope you had a positive experience out in Boston. I have very fond memories of the one year I spent at Berklee.
On to your question about the Gowan track…the cowbells were tracks. Meaning, the band plays to a click track and there is some soundscaping information that goes along with what we are plying in perfect time. (All the musicians are playing their instruments, so make no mistake about that!) But the cowbells were from the original track (played by the great Jerry Marrotta) and is a signature sound of the original hit song. Early in the Gowan band I used to play the sampled sounds from a Roland pad, but ultimately it was easier to have them on the backing tracks.
I’m glad you dug the show and sorry the shirt fell a little short! I look forward to making back to your neck of the woods before too long.
My best to you and keep playing!
I am currently working on a University project where I am developing my own signature snare drum (looking at different materials, hardware, heads etc and building it myself). Along side this I am conducting research in to how professional drummers, like yourself, go about designing their ideal or signature snare drum. I was wondering if you could possibly tell me what it is you look for in your ideal snare? For example what is your go to material (Bubinga? Maple?)? Your go to size and depth? And most importantly, what are the reasons for your choices?
This is sort of like asking a chef what he looks for in a meal. So it’s really difficult to answer this. I love so many drums for so many reasons, but they are ultimately a tool to do a job, and that job is to make music. So it’s really a matter of what snare is best for the music. Even further, in the studio, what snare is right for the song at hand? This is what dictates the choices for me. (Not metal or maple, etc.) I learn the characteristics of my drums and I let the music make the choice for me in a way. And sometimes I’m wrong. I’ve been in situations where the variables might be a particular day, a particular microphone, a particular studio, a particular area of that studio…and a beat up old Ludwig Acrotite might beat out an array of thousand dollar snare drums…on a particular piece of music! There are no absolutes.
Esthetics are another thing. Like cars or boats or watches or whatever, some things make one’s heart go pitter pat and somethings leave one cold and feeling nothing. That is ultimately up to the individual.
I hope I’ve helped in some way!
I am a music student at Youngstown States University in Youngstown, Ohio and I am a big fan of your drumming. I saw a clinic you played in Youngstown some years back. One of my favorite things from your dvd and modern drummer performance is the Jerry Goodman tune Tears of joy. What a beautiful tune! I am in the market for some recital music for my junior recital and was wondering, could I buy a copy of the drumless play along? It would be a great help and much fun to do! Thanks and have a great day!
We have your Method and Mechanics books DVD and CD and manual. Really working on the Tears of Joy song. Would like to know if there is anyway we can get the Tears of Joy song without the Drums in a .wav format? If you need proof of purchase, please let me know and I can send along the proof of purchase of product.
Hey Zach and Toma,
It was a publishing issue that kept a drumless version from coming out so I apologize that I’m unable to supply that. But thanks to you both for enjoying the track!
I wish you both the best-
Hey Todd, I just saw you in Cincinnati Ohio and I wanted to say nice job but anyway I am getting a kit and I have a question what ride cymbal would you recommend for me I’m looking at a Sabian AAX OMNI Ride 22 in would you recommend that for the music i play witch is styx songs? thanks -Blake
While the Omni is a versatile cymbal, I feel it’s a little light and thin to play “arena rock” music. The cymbal you heard me play was a 22” Vault Precision Ride. So I hope that helps!
My 7 year old son (an enormous Styx fan) and I attended the Styx show at Ball State U. in Indiana on February 13. We were a handful of rows back, and it was my son’s first concert. He was holding up a sign saying he was a big Tommy Shaw fan, and asking Tommy to play a specific guitar my son has a fondness for. I’ve played guitar since I was a kid, so I think my son Julian naturally gravitated toward that instrument. However, ‘Santa’ bought him a set of drums for his 2nd birthday, and he had never really taken to them (too loud I presumed).
The point of my story is that you were gracious enough to notice my son while you and the band were bowing at the end of the show (making a gesture toward him and mimicking headphones, which he was wearing), and you threw out a stick toward us, which the person in front of us caught, and handed to my son. All he could talk about on our drive home (4 hours back to Ohio!) that evening was how nice it was for you to point him out and give him such a gift. He was so touched!
The next morning, he placed that stick on his ‘special’ shelf in his room, and went out and started playing that drum set Santa brought him 5 years earlier. Todd, he has practiced regularly since that day, and while he doesn’t have a natural rhythm, damned if he isn’t trying his hardest. And it was your kindness that sparked a desire in him to want to be like you, and learn to play that instrument, and I wanted to thank you, as it touches me as well.
All the best to you, Todd, and I wish a life of happiness for you and your family. Thank you again.
Thanks for sharing that story with me. What can I say? It’s just great….
Wishing you all the best! And thanks again,
I don’t have a technical question, as I am not a drummer. Love the drums and have always wanted to play one. I have a simple question- I am dying to know, if you have a favorite “styx” song you play? and why? My favorite so far, that you play is “come sail away” – especially at the end when it is just instrumental. (7 minute song on cd I do believe)
Thanks for answering my question- see you in concert- Angie
My favorite song is usually what is the newest in the setlist, or something we hadn’t played for a while. But I always have a special affinity for “Fooling Yourself.”
AUGUST – 2015
Todd, I recently seen the SessionsX Vids you were in for Gowan. I noticed on your left were a couple of style drums that I haven’t seen in years. The are the same size heads but the shells are lengthened to give the the desired tone. Can you tell me the name of the old ones and the ones that you used? Thank you.
Dave & Holly Heath,
Hi Dave and Holly,
The first ones I saw were called Octobans made by Tama in the 1970s. There were a few other companies that made them after too, and many still do. Mine are made by Pearl and they are called Rocket Toms. They have a 6” diameter head with the tubes at different lengths. I hope this helped!
Could your tell me which mount and stand you use to mount your suspended bass drum in your Methods and Mechanics I video. Thanks so much for addressing my question and fueling the fire.
David K.B. Cole
The stand was simply a double tom stand with the tom arms going through the bass drum mount. (Bass drum must have the two holes and mount to accomplish mounting this way.) If your bass drum is smooth (no holes drilled) you can always get two Pearl Optimounts made for 14” or 16” toms, put them on, and have a single tom stand on each side.
Hope that helps!
I love both of your Methods & Mechanics DVD’s and watch them all the time as well as transcribing a lot off stuff from them. I’m also looking forward to a possible third DVD if and when time permits. I know doing drum DVD’s take a while. My question is, on the second DVD there is a small section of the arena rock endings and you play 3 or 5 notes on the snare to signal the rest of the guys for the ending, then you hit the crashes and then thats followed by what you call a period at the very end where i think you do a lick using your floor tom, gong drum and bass drum. My question is what is that last lick? Is it a certain sticking ? Sounds like it’s the Bucket O Fish fill at the end but i could be wrong as it goes by real fast. Thank you for all the great drumming and will see you at the Forum in L.A. in September.
Thanks for the kind words and glad you are enjoying the DVDs. The lick in question is most likely one of these two:
FFLRF, or FFLRFFLRF
I hope that makes sense!!!
I hope you don’t mind me e-mailing you. I was surfing around your site and came upon the “ask Todd” section and love reading the questions/answers.
I have been a long time Styx fan since my brother introduced me to the band back in 70’s listening to them on 8-track. I continued to listen through the years and have had the pleasure of seeing you guys (current line-up) a couple of times. I must say of the band of that era that are out touring, the others could take a few lessons from you guys on how its done!!! You guys always put on a great show an leave the crowd wanting more!!!! I am a drummer (just a pastime and outlet for me) and always can’t get enough of watching great bands, especially those with great drummers perform.
Anyway, I enough gushing!!! I noticed you and the band will the in the Midwest for some shows in early August (8/8 Sioux Falls, 8/9 Lincoln & 8/11 Kansas City). As I am in Omaha, NE, will you be doing any appearances or drumming clinics in the area? I would love to be able to attend one of those. I will be in attendance at your Lincoln, NE show. I would not miss your drumming for the world.
Thanks for taking the time to read this and keep up the great work from behind your kit.
Coincidentally I write from Sioux Falls, with Lincoln tomorrow. I won’t be doing any clinics on this run. For one, it’s almost impossible to do clinics while on the road and two, I have to be invited to do them. I never choose where I do them. So, that’s how that works.
I hope you enjoy the show and thanks for the note and kind words!
MARCH – 2015
Hi Todd, First I must thank you for all you have done for me and the drumming community in general. I have been studying your DVDs now for just under four years( Yes I purchased them at a music store and refuse to let anyone copy them no matter how much they beg) In addition to being a busy gigging drummer I also teach. My question is: If you had to chose 5 rudiments to teach a drummer, that would be appropriate for Rock,R&B drum-kit application, what would they be ?
Thanks again, Huge Fan, Marc Nelson
Most of what we play on the drums would be singles and doubles and combinations of both. So single stroke rolls and double stroke rolls are critical. I would then add flams, roughs and paradiddles and their variations. Hope that helps. Thanks for having the DVDs and thanks for the kind words!
My best to you-
I’m a schooled musician (collegiate level +) and have been working as a drummer for some time. It seems that within the last few years I’m encountering more and more scenarios where I’m tasked not so much with reading notes on a page, as much as I am with trying to decipher/interpret verbal descriptions from non-drummers.
My two part question for you is: With all of the work you do, how much of it requires you to read charts vs. interpret verbal descriptions, and do you have any suggestions for avoiding frustrations while working with musicians that are not steeped in drumming/rhythmic nomenclature?
Thanks for being such a great source of inspiration!
Back in the “old days” I was reading a lot of charts for sessions but they were normally “lead” charts that had to be interpreted. Very rarely would I ever get a chart with drum notation. Nowadays I’m usually sent demos with no charts so it’s up to me, and I’ll talk to the artist/producer usually over the phone as people will send me tracks from somewhere far away, I record and send them back. I haven’t read anything in a long time now that I think about it.
Hope this answers your question. Thanks for the note and I wish you the best!
I don’t have a question… I just would like to say thanks for your Promark signature series Rock Maple 5B sticks. I just recently purchased several pairs and they feel great and perform even better than they feel. I have played with so many size sticks from many different manufactures during my 40+ years of playing. Always aspired to make it to the pro level but never got there. Recently I found myself dropping 5As and other sticks and knew I needed something else. Your signature sticks have the right feel without the added weight.
Again thanks much. BTW – I do have the videos and plenty of live footage DVDs on Styx and so many other great rock and roll bands.
p.s. I hope this thx you does make it directly to Todd…
Thanks a lot. Glad the sticks are working for you! I’ve used them for 10 years now and couldn’t be happier—and it’s always nice to get a note like yours.
Hey Todd I know this is a long shot but I’m a 33 yr old cop who has been playing the drums since I was 5. I struggle so bad and all I’m asking is if you throw some stuff away to send it to me please. I know I sound foolish but I just want to play. Thanks for your time and consideration. I have never seen anyone come close to your playing, it is phenomenal!!
Officer Marty Hopkins
Hancock Co Sheriffs Dept
I throw nothing away, so sorry I can’t help….but thanks for the compliments!
I wanted to say thank you for your performance at the Bonzo Bash. Your playing on “Fool in the Rain” was THE highlight of the show. Not only because you played it so wonderfully but because you played it with such respect to what John Bonham had done. It was you..but still so respectful to the original. I was very happy to see that.
No offense to the other players..but many were so far away from what made Bonham great it was hard to listen to!
I saw there might be a possibility that you will appear at this years Vintage Drum Show in St. Charles. I am good friends with Michael Gallus but I recently moved from the area to the great white north of North Dakota. I am planning on going back for the show and what an honor it would be to finally see you and say hello in person.! I hope it works out.
I wish you nothing but continued success and I hope I can say thank you in person soon.
All the best..
Thanks for that. I did my best to play it like John (even though taking some liberties in the samba section) but the night was a tribute to John. So I was surprised to see some of the others stray form the parts. The night wasn’t about them, or me…but Bonham. So thanks for noticing!
Looking forward to the Chicago show….
I have been a big fan of your playing. As an “old school” fan I was skeptical of any replacement for John. You have been amazing to hear and see. The best Styx show I ever saw was July 83 in Richmond, VA and yes I’m one of the fans who enjoyed Kikroy was Here for many reasons. Do you think the “old” fans will ever see Dennis back where he belongs? I never understood how the band tossed away a guy who helped bring the group it’s greatest commercial success. I know all of you are artists but it still boils down to money in the end and why leave it on the table. If the stones can balance the Richards/Jagger ego conflict then you guys can too. If it doesn’t happen I can always be glad I saw Styx in their prime….
I know this is probably not entirely your call but have you ever thought of putting your name on your bass drums along with the band’s name. I just think in my opinion and I know many others that you are the top drummer touring in the classic band circuit and you should be in the limelight abit more. It would be nice for fans who are not drummers to see your name and maybe discover you this way. This might be a stretch , but a solo along with this would be awesome!
Thanks, Bob Payetta
I’ll answer the second question first. I’ve never been one for that kind of thing. I’m toying with the notion of initials on the head (old school) but I always thought putting one’s full name on the bass drum was a bit….much. I’d rather let the playing do the talking.
If your parents were divorced (or certainly you have a good friend who’s parents were divorced) can you see asking them to get remarried for “old time’s sake?” Really, you or any fan have no idea what went on behind the scenes and it’s a bit naive to think it’s so simple. And for the record, no one was “tossed away.” He was asked to participate which was met with refusal. And then a federal lawsuit. So, you can see…
My best to you-
Exactly 3 weeks ago I saw you playing at Key Music (Belgium). Great performance ! What a speed, accuracy and musicality.. and very inspiring as well !!! Also the tips and tricks you shared with us were very usefull.
Thanks again !
I wondered if you could help me out with the following thing:
I’am the proud player of a Pearl Masters Custom (MMX – Maple shells) drumset which a bought in the late-nineties. If I am not mistaken, these are 4 ply, 54 mm thick shells.
Today the Masters Custom-line has 6 ply shells with a thickness of 7.5 mm. Other series like the Masters Premium, Reference and Masterworks have 6 to 8 plies.
As I’d like to expand my set with a 14” (floor)tom, could you tell me from which line I should buy in order to have the most consistent sound possible with the rest of my drumset? Ideally, the color should be #103 Piano Black, which is not always available
although there seem to be differences between Pearl’s USA and European website.
I would be very thankfull if you could help me out.
Looking forward to seeing you play soon !
Thanks for making it out to the clinic in Belgium! To get to your question, I know for a long time they made a 4 ply Masters kit. (I actually have one circa 2003.) So if they still do that I would recommend that as an addition. You could always order a Masterworks 4 ply in piano black. I’m not well versed in all the lines and I know changes are made through the years, but I would seek the advice of your Pearl dealer and scour the internet for more info. I’m sure you’ll find what you’re looking for.
Thanks again and I wish you luck!
Todd, Dude! I absolutely LOVED your Blushda’s! Love the video!!!! Absolutely awesome man!
Just got back from recording in England and had a blast, used some Sabian Artisan cymbals – Wow do they have Body! and warmth yikes! Sound like my wife! hehe 🙂
Big fan of Paiste Formula 602’s too (including the Modern Essentials line – I have the 22″ ride – WHOAAAA!)
Happy Holidays! and love your kit set up, fabulous sound!
All the best,
If you liked that video, I recommend picking up the DVD that it came from—Methods and Mechanics. Over 9 hours of material….
Yeah, I love the Artisans for sure. Buttery power, dark with a glisten of highs. Beautiful cymbals.
Thanks for the note-
Hello Todd, your playing reminds me a lot of one of my favourite drummers,the late Mick Tucker of the band Sweet. Is he someone you listened to and if not may I recommend the album ” give us a wink” by sweet which I think shows mr Tuckers style off brilliantly. Thanks for your time and congratulations on producing two of the most helpful drum DVDs I’ve seen. Paul Heydon.
Glad you have the DVDs and thanks for that! I knew some Swett songs from the radio growing up, but never knew the drummer’s name so I suppose I can’t name him as an influence…but I knew some of the music.
Thanks for the note, Paul!
Wife wanted tickets and tagged along with her. Did not know whether I was going to watch Sticks or Stix? Grew up going to Taft High School on the NW side but know songs but never who sung them.
Totally shocked when I found out the group originated in Chicago! My mind was on baseball growing up!
Watched you the entire night and you can see your passion for music! My idea of music was being
a snare drummer for the Norwood Park Imperials Drum and Bugle Corps which I just loved but had to retire at age 8 because of all the shots I took for wearing “white bucks!” Were you a member of any corp?
Even got introduced to Pequiods pizza this past Winter in Morton Grove.
Safe travels and asking for a Styx album for Xmas.
Glad you “discovered” us! No, I was never in a corp but we had a good high school drum line/marching band.
Pequads and Lou Malnati’s are my all time favorites! Mmmmm.
I am strongly considering buying Audix microphones that match yours, thanks in no small part to the great sound I consistently hear from your drums. I know you’ve mentioned employing an engineer before, but I thought you might be able to provide me some insight into these that I haven’t been able to find elsewhere – do you use noise gates on your tom mics? Your setup is similar to mine with the number of toms, and I’ve found that the cheap mics I use HAVE to have noise gates or the cymbal bleed is way too much for the mix. I’ve read that the Audix D2’s and D4’s don’t have this problem because of their hypercardioid design, but thought you might be able to give a realistic opinion on them that isn’t a canned response found in their website marketing!
Your drumming has been a true inspiration for me, and I appreciate all that you do. Thank you!
I believe we have very light gates on the toms…VERY light as I hate them. This is at the request of the audio team who I respect. So there you go. Audix is just killer on drums and the all stars are the SCX25A overheads. I would put those up against four thousand dollar mics any day! Hope this helps!
Ask Todd – November 2014
I was watching the “Return to Paradise” concert (1997) and noticed that one or more of your snare wires had broken during “Grand Illusion”. Were you aware that they had broken and if so…did you change out the snare during the show? In your earlier days, how would you handle something like that to keep the set going as smoothly as possible? Even when I was playing clubs I always had a replacement snare drum on hand to swap out if needed. (perhaps a great quick tip..LOL)
Having just moved up to Fargo from outside Chicago (Friends with Mike Gallus) I hope you and the band can make a visit up here sometime.
You are a tremendous player..and I get inspired every time I hear you play! I wish you continued success and much happiness.
Thanks for the note. Yeah, I normally have no idea if some snare wires are hanging off mid show. There’s plenty there to get through the gig and if that happens there’s a new set on the drum for the next night.
We’ve played Fargo a few times before so hopefully it won’t be too long until you’re back. And remember, you can always call 1-800-LouToGo for your Lou Malnati’s pizza delivery fix!
Hi Todd I saw you live with Styx at Jones Beach Theater this past Saturday. You and the lads were amazing! As a drummer I can admire the stuff you did during the show. You were really fast and showed great endurance, something i still struggle with ;P anyway the point of this email is for me to tell you that when you went on with Don Felder and played the tambourine, I couldn’t help but notice something: You look and act EXACTLY like Keith Moon! No joke! the way you made your silly gestures and faces reminded me exactly of something Keith would do! plus you’re an amazing drummer, as was he. So tell me your secret, Mr. Sucherman: are you related to Keith Moon, or did he go into hiding and you’re actually him? Keep rocking with Styx, those were some impressive beats you kept up with. especially during “Light up”. Stay safe, and have a nice week.
Well, I suppose there are worse people to look like! I do get that from time to time. Anyway, thanks for coming to the show and enjoying it.
I was moved to do this. I saw you with Styx on tv and you brought tears to my eyes that’s how much I enjoyed you. I cant remember the last time I enjoyed a drummer like I did you, I cant help but feel you are a blessed man. God Bless.
Thanks for the kind words!
You are indeed my favorite drummer for the last 10 years. I appreciate your playing style and complete overall approach to the drum set. I am in awe and blown away watching you execute your rudimental fills and grooves since I first saw you in Styx.
I have been drumming since I got my first drum set in 1969. I have been playing continuously since then all through my 20’s, 30’s, 40’s and now 50. I enjoy drumming immensely as it is my passion, creative and emotionally therapeutic outlet. I am also a lead singing drummer.
I am considered an excellent drummer with great groove ability and musicality. Many hundreds of people have said that to me, so I am inclined to believe it myself. I can fly on the drum set and I know that I become ‘One’ with it. No, I do not compare myself to you; I only seek to better myself. I know that you also become One with the drums and the music as well.
I have been in roughly a few hundred bands; Cover bands and numerous Original bands. I sought a ‘recording deal’ for decades with numerous original bands along my career path, yet none materialized the way I had hoped. I am not bitter as I know it is a tough road to haul for most people. I have had many great experiences and have not stopped yet, so there are more to come.
I have a sincere question for you. I can play quite well to a click in the studio(from past bands cd’s I created). Yet I have not been able to open or even find that ‘studio door’ to find drum work in a studio environment as you have so many years ago. I would love to be compensated for drumming for other artists / groups in the studio. I’d also love to meet you one day and chat about life, a universal grander design, etc.
My question is:
How in the world do I get a break and get my foot in the door of a music production house, studio, etc?
Thanks for your kind words as they are truly appreciated! On to your very tough question…..
I don’t know…is my answer. The paradigm of the industry has changed so greatly and session work is a mere fraction of what it used to be. Guys in NY & LA have been taking more road work than ever as that’s the way the industry is not what it once was sadly. It’s a business of friendships and relationships (as it always has been) so that is the key ingredient. If you check out my first Methods and Mechanics DVD, I address some of this as there’s career navigational techniques sprinkled through out the presentation. I never got a gig from sending tapes around. It came from working with tons of different musicians and then someone would recommend me or pull me into a project. That’s how it worked for me but everyone is different.
I know you’re looking for an answer but there isn’t one…but being prepared, being on time, having the right tools, nailing the gig and then leaving everyone happy that you were there…those are steps for success. I wish you luck!
Hey Todd, just want to get your take on stick acrobatics. I Caught a couple of tours this summer including yours and noticed you’re not into the stick twirling/tossing/waving thing. I not taking away anything from the guys that do it well as probably 80% of the audience are really entertained by it. Having said that your playing doesn’t allow for much of that as you are totally focused on the music. From watching your video’s in songs like Blue collar Man for instance I never totally appreciated the accent/ghost notes you are playing in between the 2 and the 4 that give the song that marchy king of feel, this doesn’t give you much time for stick waving as you would have to be a magician. I really appreciate your left hand playing as it adds so much to the music than just simply hitting the snare or whatever on the back beats. I just think it’s important for kids or anybody to learn how to play as well as possible before being fancy. Your playing was awesome as usual.
Thanks a lot. Yeah, when I was a kid I learned a few different twirls but soon all the metal/hair band guys were doing it and kind of turned me off it. If guys can do it well, it can be entertaining. Like Steve Smith doing it as a historical homage, the Mr. Hi Hat thing, it’s cool. But I’m concentrating on playing well first and while tricks can be entertaing..i’m stirving for a deeper thing. So, that’s my take. Hope that helps.
My best to you-
i would like to thank you for your ever evolving contributions to the art of drumming .
question : please under your chapter in your video/dvd methods and mechanics please transcribe under (tribute fills ) steve gadds six stroke roll on the drum set also all the weckel fills and hand feet combinations (2 n 2) ( 3 n 2) (6 n 2)
p.s. i purchased a roland td30kv top of the line electronic drum set. (behavior modeling technology) with super natural drum sounds.
keep your passion moving and grooving peace-
Thanks for the compliments. That lick and all the others are lovingly transcribed in the Methods and Mechanics book which also comes along with a CD of the songs, solos and a few play along tracks. Hope you pick it up.
I know this may be an impossible question, but do you have a certain type of snare that you never get tired of and works in most situations? Size? Metal, wood or hybrid? Wood, flanged or die cast hoops? # of snare wires? Thanks for your input.
Absolutely loved your Austin clinic a few months ago. I never have seen you play with Styx since the last time I saw them was on the Mr. Roboto tour way back in the 80’s! Hopefully you guys will play the Austin area some time.
Enjoy the new baby, they are a huge blessing!
I really don’t have a favorite as I enjoy and employ them all. I let the music dictate what works best in my judgement (or employer’s judgement.) Glad you caught the Austin Co-op as that was a lot of fun for me. And yes, loving being a dad…thanks!
I’m a huge fan of your drumming and you inspire me everyday to get better. My question is about the very cool practice pad you use in the DVD to showcase exercises and warmups. Who makes it? Or is this something you put together with a piccolo snare and mesh heads?
Thanks! Yeah, it’s just a Pearl Muffle head on a snare drum, the I put Pintech rubber rim stuff around the hoop. Simpl and pretty cheap too!
Hope that helps-
Hello Mr. Sucherman,
My name is Norris and I am a fan of yours I own both dvd’s M.M. 1 & 2. I was unable to catch your clinic in Denver, CO but I am the so very blessed and happy owner of the kit you used for the clinic.
Pearl drums have always been my favorite and these are the nicest drums I have ever had the privilege and pleasure to played and I owned a great, great set. Thank you for your great work, I get pumped when I watch
your dvd’s and the advice you give is very useful and helps me a lot. Continued success and God bless.
Sorry you missed the clinic as it was a really great night, but you have a fabulous Masterworks kit on your hands. Mice choice! Hope it serves you well for many years.
Thanks for the note and get behind those babies and have some fun-
This is a long story that I’ll condense into a few sentences but one that I thought you’d love to hear. I’m a lifelong Stxy fan that introduced my oldest son to the band for the first time when he was 5 years old during the Return to the Paradise Theater Tour in 1995, I believe. Joe, Jr. has now seen the band 20 times, with the 21st coming tonite in Lancaster, PA. I jokingly tell Joe that he was actually introduced to Styx “in utero”, as his mom and I attended a show on the Edge of the Century Tour in 1990 when my wife was pregnant with him; we even got to say hello to John Panozzo, who sat in our row to check out one of the opening bands that night, a very brief encounter that I’ll long cherish. Joe was so turned on to drumming after seeing you live for the first time nearly 20 years ago, and after studying music performance and education was selected as the new percussionist with the US Air Force Band of the Golden West based out of Travis AFB near Sacramento, beginning his service to our country in November, 2014. For the first time, Joe is treating me to a Styx show tonite, and we are stoked to seeing you and the band one last time before he begins his four year Air Force commitment. Thank you so much on behalf of my entire family for being such an inspiration to Joe, who by the way owns both of your Methods & Mechanics DVDs and proudly hangs his Styx concert momentos on his college apartment wall, including a couple of drum sticks that you were nice enough to toss his way along the years. Keep up the good work and keep making us proud! Sincerely, the Ganzelli Family of Downingtown, PA (p.s. Check out Joe’s website at www.joeganzelli.com!)
Joe Ganzelli, Sr.
Thanks for the great note. I hope you guys had a blast at the show and I wish both of you the best!
I hope you and your family are well! Thoroughly enjoyed seeing you play with Styx back in May in Orange Beach AL. You have been my drumming idol since 2000 when Styx and REO did the Arch Rivals tour. To this day I have been perplexed by the sound of your old Ayotte kit and was wondering what the sizes of the drums were?
Your masterworks kit in 2001 (the one you used in Montreal Canada – there is a full live show on YouTube if you search for Styx live Montreal) that kit had a unique sound also. But still not quite as unique to me as your old Ayotte set. Anyway…I was just curious as I have been listening to a lot of your playing from back then. And I love the sound of that kit.
Thanks for all you do and being such an inspiration!
The old Ayottes are the same sizes I’m playing now with my current Pearl Masterworks kit (sans the Gong Drum addition).
6,8,10,12,14,16, and 2 22s.
Thanks a lot!
My name is Jens and i’m from Holland
A few months ago I asked you when you would be in Holland again for a show, but sadly there was nothing sceduled.
With that in mind I am planning to come to america in 2015 to see you at a drumclinic.
My question is if you could point me in the right direction for finding some good shows in america. With that I mean drumclinics where lots of famous drummers wil be and ofcourse a drumclinic where YOU will be. Cause you will be the main reason for me to get on a plane!
I’m totally unknown with american events so I have no idea where to start looking for nice clinics next year.
Looking forward to your advice.
Greets from the Netherlands wishes you,
Well, NY and LA are cities where you can usually see top guys. As far as clinics go? I have no idea when or where I’ll be doing any next year. They usually show up with 6 weeks notice…and I don’t choose where I do them. I have to be invited to do so. So hopefully our paths will cross one of these days.
Hi Todd! I have no question, I just want to congratulate you on the quality of your drumming, your career and your personality…
I am writing from Québec(Eastern Canada), I am a huge fan of Styx(and your drumming). I play in a small local rock band. I pushed my luck as far as including a photo of my kit(please, don’t laugh).
The very best to you and your family! Take care, Adrien.
I am curious about the snares you used on the 1996-1997 tours with Styx.
It looks like you were using an Ayotte snare on the 1996 tour and a Pearl brass piccolo on the 1997 tour?
Were there any other snares you remember using on those tours?
I used the same 14×4 Ayotte snare on both the ’96 & ’97 tours. Hope that helps!
Ask Todd – June 2014
Todd. Thank you for your commitment to overall musicianship! I’ve seen you several times and I’m amazed, each and every time.
I have a question in regards to the tape you wear on your fingers. I have issues with blisters, probably from not playing enough to be honest. I have gloves but the feel is not there for me.
Can you share the product you use and the reasons accordingly?
Thank you for your guidance.
Thanks for the kind words! I use the 3M Nexcare Active Strips. They recently changed the shape of them slightly but I have stock pile of the old ones. Nonetheless they should work wonders. To see them in detail you can check out the “Day in the life on the road” feature in the bonus section of my first Methods & Mechanics DVD available right here at the link below which is the store on my site.
Thanks again and I wish you luck!
You have a very rich and melodic drum sound live, every drum rings through clean from your high toms to the
lows of the kicks, floors and gong drum. Is this a reflection of you and your drum tech and the sound person?
I am amazed how many other drummers I have seen, using high end drums, then go and put drum triggers on the drums.
I see this a lot, doesn’t that “muddy” up the drum sound or give it a fake sounding quality?
Your drum sound live, seems to be the way you attack the drums and the microphones that are used…a real and honest sound.
Could you share your thoughts on drum triggering live and why you think a lot of drummers still use it?
Thanks for the compliments. I have always strived for a natural pure sound. A lot of it is how I hit the drums and my long time tech (Paulie Carrizzo) tunes them exactly how I like. Nailed every time. My mice are by Audix which are just beautiful on drums. As far as trigger use by others I can only assume a spectrum of reasons. One couple be they are lazy or it could be at the request of their employer. Or a matter of taste. But I prefer going natural!
First off, many congratulations to you and your wife.
Second, you are a phenomenal drummer. I have become a huge fan since seeing you play with Spinal Tap.
My question is gear-related. Your mic holders, who makes them. The mount, I know, is a Dunnett R-Clamp, but the mic holders, are they Audix?
I only ask, mainly, because LP/Gibraltar Claws way as much as the drum itself, and most mic companies stock-clips aren’t worth very much in the durability department.
Again, all the best to you and your family!
Thanks for the kind words and for dropping me a note. I’ve developed a great friendship with builder Ronn Dunnett over the years. Ronn made the bent metal mic arms for me personally to go with the R Clamps and had them plated in Rose Gold to match the hardware. So that was a custom job indeed. But I’m sure you could find a host of options for mice with the standard R Clamps. I hope that helps.
Hey Todd, I just wanted to say first of all I’m a huge fan, of both your music and your DVDs. I took your advice and joined my church’s praise team and it was great. I can apply so many of your ideas to what Im doing there. No I’m not playing songs like one with everything but it gives me a chance to play with other musicians as well as praise god. I wanted to say thanks, I can absorb so much of your playing as well as your ideas. I’m always at least half an hour early to practice, I always ask questions before we do a song rather than fumble my way through it. To quote your DVD, I get to play like Chomsky, play very little but fluently and eloquently . I really admire your playing because as you said, your drumming is very applicable, the ghost notes, the high-hat ruffs, the pings of the cymbals, I just wanted to say thanks. I wanted to know what sort of music I could listen to too become a better drummer. I already listen to every progressive band I can find; Genesis, Dream Theater, Rush, U.K., Yes, Frank Zappa, ect. I did take your advice and listen to some jazz, and I would agree it does make you a better musician, not necessarily the notes you are playing, but its how you come up with the parts you play. I know your a busy guy I just wanted to say thanks for all I learned from you, and congratulations on your first child.
Glad to hear your playing and having good experiences. Thanks for sharing your feedback with me. As for what to listen to? Well, that’s your journey to discover as it’s a big world out there. I like some of who you mention but the world is bigger that just prog.
I mean…Steve Gadd, Peter Erskine, Jeff Porcaro, Tony Williams….that’s a lifetime right there. (No pun intended on “The New Tony Williams Lifetime” record.) Listen to some GROOVE guys. One of my favorite records of all time is XTC’s “Nonsuch” which has Dave Mattacks eloquent playing on it. I’m about SONGS and a lot of prog is about impressing. (Love Genesis, Yes, UK by the way.) But it’s up to you to check things out and digest them. It’s part of the fun of a lifelong pursuit!
Thanks for the kind words and have fun discovering!
First of all I want to thank you for the amazing clinic yesterday here in Austin. Your technicality and overall emotion while playing the drums was so inspiring and definitely walked away a better drummer.
Actually the first time I was blessed with the chance to watch you perform was when STYX played the Austin Rodeo and I was amazed while watching your drumming in a 360 degrees fashion. After the end of the show I caught one of your sticks and actually had it up on my wall until the Bastrop Wildfires came in and burned everything, along with my drum set, cymbals and other various drum artifacts. I’ve since moved full time to Austin and out of that I was blessed with a set of my dreams that I use with multiple bands as well as various session work here in Austin.
I was thoroughly bummed about losing the stick because after growing up around music and seeing shows since I’ve been in 3rd grade, your drum performance was the best I’ve seen in my life. I’m not just saying this to say it, but I actually mean it from the bottom of my heart. I didn’t get a chance to tell you this in person, but I felt like I had to share this story and tell you how much your drumming inspires me as a drum professional.
I know you’re extremely busy, as am I with various musical endeavors, but I would love to talk about the possibility of one day being able to schedule a one time lesson/time to talk about the profession.
thanks for your inspiration and time,
Thanks for making it out tat night and for sharing your thoughts with me. I really appreciate it. I would have given you a stick had you asked me that night….anyway, if you’re on Facebook I’ll announce a week of lessons sometime for Nov or Dec. So like the Official Todd Sucherman page and keep an eye out.
Glad you;re working and getting gigs. Keep it up! And see yu down the road.
This is Noah Kittelson, Aaron Kittelsons son. I was wondering if you knew anything about Musicians Institute out of Hollywood. I hesitate to get info from the website to avoid bias.. I sent an email to Ray Luzier of Korn because I know he attended the institute early in his career, but he hasn’t gotten back to me. I just kind of want to know if this place is a legitimate option after high school. I would also like a little insight in possibly attending the University of North Texas. Any opinion on any place to go after I graduate would be great! Thanks Todd, and congrats on the kid:)
Thanks for your time!
MI is good but I don’t think it’s a “proper college” if your folks want you to get a degree. Whether it’s Berklee, MI, NT, you get out of it what you put into it. MI seems cool but I really don’t know much about it even after doing a couple of clinics there. I know they have a great staff. But I have no personal experience as I went to Berklee for one year after high school. Lots for you to consider.
I wish you well, which you luck, and give your folks my regards!
My name is Jens and i’m from the Netherlands. First of all let me tell you how big of a fan I am!
The first and last time I had the fortune of seeing you play was at the Adams drumworld festival in september 2010. My big dream since then is to see your live skills again and hopefully have a picture with you.
My question for you goes als follow: is there any chance of seeing you play in Holland this year or next year maybe? I would be the first one to buy a ticket!!!
Looking forward to your response and with kind regards,
Thanks for the kind words and I have fond memories of my trip over there in 2010 indeed! The only European/UK thing I have on the books is the London Drum Show in November. But I’m hoping Pearl/Sabian plan a couple more stops for me while I’m on that side of the ocean…so stand by.
Thanks again and hope to see you over there soon-
Hey Todd I just want to thank you for all the inspiration you have given me as a drummer over the years. I have been following you ever since the first DVD came out. I’m proud to say you are my favorite drummer and I see eye to eye with you on many other topics regarding how you treat fans, your life outlook, etc. I hope you do another Chicago clinic soon as I had tickets to the Cobra Lounge one but I could not attend because my dog got really sick.:( Anyway, I have a very similar snare to the Rosewood Pearl Masterworks model you used on the first DVD. I love the way you have it tuned all through out that DVD. I was wondering if you could give me some insight on how you have it tuned? How tight the top and bottom heads are? Maybe using a 1-10 scale. also your snare tension? I would really appreciate it. Look forward to seeing you live soon and possibly a new DVD..
Sorry you missed the Vic’s clinic and hope the pooch is OK. Anyway, hard to remember the filming of the first MM DVD and what the tuning was. I tune to what sounds good at the time and in the room. So hard to say…..medium? Between 6 and 7? I’m sorry I can’t be much help on this. Just experiment and do what pleases your ears.
Hope to be back there before too long. Thanks again and my best to you!
Hi Todd . I just want your thoughts on why so many touring drummers went to the single head tom over the last ten years or so? The only benefit of this is to have the big ride cymbal in close correct? Why would a drummer who doesn’t have to set up there kit or pay for there kit want to lose all these tools like the 6, 8, and other toms which are so awesome when used wisely. For me a huge part of a Styx show or a couple of the other big names touring is enjoying the full sound of the big kit. When I go to a show and see the little kit set up, I kind of feel let down right away. Also I would like to congratulate you on the birth of your daughter, so nice to have a family to come home to.
Interesting question. While any good drummer should be able to make anything happen on a small kit, I think there are some guys out there who can’t–and need a lot of “stuff”—and have given big kits a bad name. I think it’s just been the “hip uniform” for the last several years. I’ll bet that some artists look down on guys with a rack of toms in the front and that guy won’t get the gig before he even plays a note. Then someone comes in with a vintage small kit and they go “now THAT’s cool.” And that guy gets the gig. (Discrimination….ha!) It’s simply what’s in vogue at the moment.
But I’ll use what’s needed. When I toured with Brian Wilson I used two racks and two floors which were more than enough for what’s needed in the music. That music was created without an 8″ tom, you know?
Anyway, thanks for the question!
How do you tune your top heads to your bottom heads? Do you have certain notes that you tune your drums to? They sound amazing!
I am so impressed with your drumming and musicianship!
Thanks a lot! I just tune by ear, every time. No notes, no tricks….just ears! Thanks for your kind words and take care!
Great concert last night in Estero! I wrote to you previously and told you about my daughter, Ainsley, who is 8 and has been drumming for four years now! She was at the concert again last night, side stage right, and had a blast! Thank you for being such an instrumental figure in her early drumming years! She’s been “hooked” on Styx since she watched you in concert last year. She’s currently learning Too Much Time on My Hands and Back in Black (I know… not your song) with her instructor and dreams of a set like yours!
Again, I just wanted to take the time to say you rock and thank you for sharing your talent with the world! If you have any advice for my little drummer girl, I’ll pass it on!
Safe journeys. ~Jennifer
Thanks for the notes and I’m glad you both enjoyed the gig! Tell her to keep it up and have fun with the process!
My best to you both-
Is the drum set that you are using on the current Styx tour, Sounds Of Summer, available to the general public as a Pearl Masterworks kit? in other words, shell plies, bearing edges,etc. For instance, I see that your rack toms have 2-ply bubinga outer,4-ply maple inner and 2-ply bubinga I’m assuming middle? Is this configuration correct? I love the drum sound you get and would like to get the same wood configuration on my custom Masterworks kit. any input would be greatly appreciated.
Everything you see is available for order (except the rose gold hardware) to order from your Pearl dealer. (24K gold is an option.) The configuration you mention is for the smaller toms. The larger ones are 10 ply. Hope that helps and have fun ordering your dream kit!
My dad who is a drummer and fan of yours introduced my son to your MM2 DVD. He can’t get enough, I have to play it from the moment he wakes to goes to bed! Any tips on teaching basics to a toddler? Wanted to bring my dad to your Styx show up in Red Rocks Colorado this year, hoping to surprise him!
Colorado Springs, CO
Cool to hear….and wish I had tips for a toddler, but I really haven’t had any experience with that. But he should always have fun before he gets really serious about it. (The fun continues but you have to train yourself to enjoy the work.)
We are playing Fiddler’s Green on July 22nd and the night before (the 21st) I’m doing a drum clinic for Rupp’s drums in Denver. Info below!
Hope you make it-
The Toad Tavern
7pm Showtime July 21st
5302 S. Federal Cir
Littleton, CO 80123
Hello Mr. Sucherman,
I’ve been following your instructional material (M&M 1 and 2, MD fest. 2008) for a while now and I’m hoping you could shed some light on a prevalent issue that I am currently trying to navigate. I’ve been playing for close to 6 years now (currently 21), and at this point, I’m feeling this craving to get out and start working as a musician either as a band-member or a session musician. I’m not picky about what exactly I would be doing, but I do want to end up A) playing music professionally and B) be able to support myself financially. At the same time, there is nothing musically going on in Connecticut despite what so many people will try to say. At this point, after searching for a year for a band, trying to land something in terms of music, and failing to make any headway towards a career in the industry at some level, I’m finding the possibilities and opportunities either just plane don’t exist or are so far out of reach that I can’t compete.
The other issue I’m having is the lack of support. I’m doing very well in engineering school (actual engineering not audio engineering) and every single person I have come in contact with has been trying to persuade me against a career in music given my current standing in college. Every single person including band directors, peers, family, and teachers are pushing me towards engineering and away from music. I don’t enjoy engineering but it would certainly be very easy to support myself in that profession, and it’s the only thing keeping me in school.
Is my desire to perform or record music a pipe dream at this point? Is there any way for people to progress in this industry as it is that you are aware of? I’ve been attempting to reach out to as many professionals as possible (I reached out to Curt Bisquera and Dirk Verbeuren with the same sort of situation last year) and will continue to do so for as long as I can.
After writing and drafting this email multiple times, I was extremely fearful of sounding either whiny or ungrateful for any opportunities that have been presented, and if that is the case I’d like to apologize profusely. I am aware that large investments of time are required, but I also find it soul crushing and demoralizing to not see any progress after the 6 years I’ve spent improving myself on the instrument.
Yours is an age old situation anyone who pursues a life in the arts goes through. While the notion of leaving a stage job for a possible unstable life is daunting, so is giving up a dream. You are SO young. You have time. But you have to get your skills together and get out and play with people. No one to play with? You have to move somewhere where there are guys. Change a school to somewhere in Boston or NY. So you can still pursue both…and be around other musicians. If you want to be a Broadway dancer, you can’t do it living in Montana, right?
You have a lot of soul searching to do but it’s part of your journey and experience no matter which way the wind blows.
Sorry if I’m not of much help. It’s a daunting task to give life advice too!
I wish you the best. Your heart and gut will always be right.
Ask Todd – March 2014
Hi Todd –
I finally had the chance to watch M&M 2, and really enjoyed it. You seemed to have a real knack in maintaining balance in all aspects of your life – and your expression of wisdom and humor is a great indication! Also really enjoyed listening to your wife’s songs, and will be purchasing her CD’s from her website.
Thanks again for your passion and dedication to the arts (…and entertainment). We look forward to seeing you at future concerts, clinics and DVD’s!
Happy Holidays and a warm congrats to you and your wife’s recent announcement (you are going to be a great dad!).
Thanks for all the compliments and show of support–it’s all truly appreciated! And our daughter, Teagan, was born on Feb 7th, so it’s an amazing time right now. Thanks for your note and I wish you the best!
In the M&M 2 video, you mention that you use a hard pack to connect your in ear monitors while playing live. I was wondering if you can make suggestions on this or share the device that you use. I’ve been using in-ears with a wireless connection for years, but they are so inconsistent. When gigging, our sound guys usually tell me there is no way to run a hard line up on stage from the mixing console, but obviously they are nuts (and I say that respectfully to all sound guys out there because they are the reason we sound good on stage). Hoping you can make some suggestions for products I can check out.
Cheers & Best Wishes,
Well, it sounds to me like your sound guy just doesn’t wan’t to deal with something extra. I’ve been using a hardwire pack for 17 years. My pack (a Sennheiser I think) just goes into a snake, and a line from the snake goes to the monitor board. It doesn’t matter how long or how may feet….get a 50 foot cable. Done! The sound difference between wireless and hardwired is like the difference between a bicycle and a car. Good luck…and enjoy!
Great clinic at TJ’s in Fall River last night! I forgot to ask you one question at the meet & greet. What was the last song you performed? I think it was a Styx tune. I really enjoyed it, but I did not recognize it. Peace and joy in the new year. Thanks. Larry C.
Thanks for coming out to the clinic. This was a little while ago now, so I’m pretty sure it was “One With Everything” off the Cyclorama record (by Styx) and this track is also on my Methods & Mechanics (1) DVD. Hope you pick ’em up.
Just wanted to say thanks so much for coming out to Dicensos last night, its always such an inspiration watching you play! And thanks for the pointers, and throwing that five note flam lick into Tears of Joy for us!
I was trying to count along how you did it….did you play it twice phrased around the toms, and then just a R L L conjuction to get to 13?
Playing was flawless as always. Hope to see you next year again whether in clinic or with Styx.
God bless man.
That was I while ago now and I have no idea what I did! Sorry….but thanks for coming out and for dropping me a note. My best to you-
Hey Todd, just a random question for ya. I’m wondering where you got your snare drum shelves in your studio. I’ve seen many drummers using the same shelves, but cannot seem to find any info on them. Any help would be greatly appreciated, man!
I first saw the shelves at Steve Maxwell’s drum shop in Chicago in 2003. (His shop is now in Naperville, IL. and he has one in NYC too.) They are bookshelves from Ikea. But I have not seen them on their website in a few years and I get asked about them all the time. Peter Erskine even emailed me about them a few years ago! So, just keep your eyes peeled and you might see something in a furniture store that works!
Hi Todd, my name is Alexander and I am from Rio Grande do Sul Brazil!, I also play drums and would like to tell you I appreciate your work as a drummer and you have become a role model for me. I would like to learn the technique of grip the stick that you use the left hand. thank you very much for your time.
Thanks for the kind words! You know, just keep working at it. Check out your form in a mirror as well as record and film yourself. All the ideas I have for development are found in my two Methods and Mechanics DVDs available from the web store right here at Toddsucherman.com…and ships to every country on earth. I hope you check it out!
Hello Todd, I wanted to tell you,about a masterclass i did with the great Steve Smith. Well,first off I was excited to have Steve use my Sonor kit,i had re headed the entire drum kit,before he arrived. where the class was held at the seattle drum school. I was really bummed out,his reaction to me, and the others wasn’t very pleasant. i was not expecting to get some royal treatment,from him. but just trying to talk with him,i felt like he had no interest,in hearing or even engaging a conversation with me. The masterclass was really cool.None the less, It doesn’t change my perception of him as a player, he’s one of my biggest influences. But as a person, maybe he’s confused.I thought about sending him a email,I just figured,he wouldn’t bother reading it,let alone getting it. I have heard other people meeting him, having the same encounter. Sorry for the long email. Knowing how much Steve has had an impact on your playing, I thought i would send my feelings on this. Thanks for reading this Todd. Steve Fournier
Sorry to hear of your experience. You know, I always try to give people the benefit of the doubt. You never know what people have going on in their lives at any moment. While I’m not trying to make an excuse for anyone…this can sometimes be the case. I just know Steve has always been warm and wonderful to me….even when I was a “nobody.” Hopefully you’ll have a positive experience next time.
Just wanted to know the sticking of your fill that you played on the Grand Illusion song intro. Sounds like a double paradiddle-diddle. But I could not slow down the footage to get a good read on it. So I know that this one is not on your videos which I see is the answer to most of the questions that you have. I also wanted to know if you have seen the Steve Smith drumming on Kanhda West. I know that you along with myself are a big fan and wanted to know if you tried that kind of drumming out for a spin. Its done in 5/4 time. I am not sure how he gets his left hand to go 5 bounces out of every stroke? Well speaking of Steve I have to go to see him at the MIM museum here in Phoenix. When will you be back in Phoenix do you think. Could I visit with you while you are here. Have a lot of questions to ask. It that possible. Thanks again for your time. You are an “animal” behind your set. My name is George .
Grand Illusion is tough without proper notation. It’s sort of (caps are accents)
R llrr L rrllRlrrL The firs R is beat 3 and the last L is the “One”. This is done over two beats at the end of the march triplet phrase.
Yes, I had Steve’s History of the US BEat the day it came out many years ago so I’ve seen that. Think of it as 2&3 notes or 3&2 notes and not 5 in a row. And we played Phoenix in January. Hope you made the show. You can always check our schedule at Styxworld.com
Can you provide any comments about the hits and the primary ride cymbals that you use? I am interested in getting a high quality ride and a beautiful set of hi hat cymbals. Every ones that I tried at a major music store were not smooth and essentially sounded cheaper if that makes sense. I know that you can purchase cymbal packages, but I am searching for really quality cymbals and I would be very interested in what you have to say on the matter. Thank you In advance. I truly admire your skills and technique.
Here are my thoughts….quality cymbals are in abundance everywhere by a myriad of makers. You have to find out what’s right for YOU. Steve Gadd could give you his ride cymbal but you ain’t gonna sound like him at all! (Or anyone else who would play his cymbal.) People miss out so much on the fact that it’s your own touch that you develop… is SO much a part of the sound. The sticks you use, the music you play, the shape of the bead, nylon or wood tip, felts, cymbal positioning, I can go on and on. This is the magic, this is the journey that never ends, and it’s FUN to discover and then change! I can tell you I use a Sabian Vault Precision Ride with Styx, and then use various models in the studio and some prototypes. I can tell you what I like…but does that help you? I can share a bit what’s taken me years to do, and follow my own instincts for the music I play. I can tell you that stuff….and it’s all documented in my DVDs. But YOU need to do that for yourself. Every drummer does. That’s our journey! So go play 200 cymbals and ask yourself 200 questions that only you can answer. Try things. Buy things. Ask the musicians you play with what they think. Ask your sound guy. Record yourself. Listen back. Experiment. This is the stuff a lot of people want to skip over and it separates the men from the boys. I know this is more than what you asked for without a direct answer. But it was a deeper question than maybe you thought! I hope I helped.
First off, congratulations to you and your wife. This must be a very exciting and happy time for you. I saw a picture of your drum kit on the vicdrumshop facebook page. The picture is from December 29th 2013. In the picture I noticed you were using the pearl eliminator and not the demon drive direct link. I have both and I have been messing around on my new demon drive direct link pedal for close to 500 hours or so. I am curious, what are the reasons you switched back to the pearl eliminator pedal? Do you not like the feel and response to the direct drive? Are you more use to the eliminator chain link? Are there too many things to maintain on the demon direct drive pedal? I do not work for a drum company or magazine. I am not asking your answer because I want to talk poorly about one pearl product verses another. I am only asking because I want to know what I should look out for throughout my journey playing the direct drive. I am asking you this question because I am sure you were able to spend a lot of time with the direct demon drive pedal.
thank you and congratulations again,
The simple answer is really the fact that I’ve been playing chain pedals since I was 13 and when I played a rented kit with the Eliminators, it just felt more like home. Simple as that. No “better than”, it’s just ultimately a preference. I did use the DD’s for about 7 months though.
My best to you-
Hey Todd, bought both your DVDS and just wanted to tell you how much I enjoy watching them. I haven’t even played in a band for years but still like banging around on my kit from time to time. I just bought your DVDS as I really love your playing and wanted to learn more about it. Let me tell you they are worth every penny and really inspire me to appreciate the drums more than ever. thanks again, next time I see you play live which is a couple times a year I will appreciate it even more!
Your note is very appreciated! Thanks a lot. Hope you catch us live soon.
Hi Todd ,
since seeing you with Styx supporting Journey in London 3 years ago I have become a huge fan of Styx and have to ask is there any chance that you and the band will come back to the UK ? Since that London concert I have brought quite a few CD’s and DVD’s and have been blown away by some of the songs . Some mean a lot to me like Show me the way . When my Father passed away back in 2011 I kept playing that song over and over in my head .
Also are there any more DVD’s in the pipe line ?
All the Best to you and the band for 2014 ,please don’t forget us here in the UK
Thanks for your note and glad you “found” us a couple years ago! Well, the sad reality is that the offers we get to play in the UK & Europe are not financially viable to get us over there to play. It has nothing to do “forgetting” any locale as we do not choose where we play. Promoters “buy” our show or make offers to buy the show or a run of shows. If they are offering peanuts, we can come without losing a boatload of money. (And this is not my money to play with in the first place.) This is the sad reality. But I still hold out hope we’ll make it over again.
Thanks again and my best-
I’m Massimo, a 24 years old drummer from Italy.
I’m writing this email just because I wanna tell you that I really like and appreciate your drumming style, your sound and your interpretation of music. Everything sounds very musical and natural. Amazing!
I don’t know if it’s the right email address to send a comment like this, but I’ve found only this contact.
So, I just want to say I’m your fan and I will try to learn something from your impressive musical style.
Here is a couple of videos of me: a drum solo of some years ago and a song from the first album of my band. Only for your pleasure to listen to my little and modest way to play derums, if you want.
I hope my english is understandable.
Thanks for reading the message, if you can.
Thanks for your note! Sadly I’m on an airplane and can’t check out your videos now but I’ll try to later. I’m sure you’re quite good as I’ve been impressed with many drummers from Italy. I just did 4 or 5 clinics in Italy last October and hope you were able to make it out to one of them.
Thanks again, and my best to you!
I just finished watching the Methods and Mechanics II dvd. Job well done! Thanks for sharing all of your tips, insights and experiences from the road. I found the DVDs both informative and entertaining as well. I also appreciate your professional approach and comments to the up and coming drummers. Keep up the good work!
Thanks a lot! It’s great to get feedback like yours on the DVDs. I really appreciate it.
This is me: https://sites.google.com/site/stevenrobthomas
A quick question regarding this picture…where did you get that snare drum wall unit from? I’ve got over 25 snares that I currently line up on a shelf and have been looking for something like your wall unit for quite some time. Is it custom made?
A few notes above I answered this very question– they were bookshelves from Ikea. But I haven’t seen them on their website in a few years. Furniture stores may have a similar item!
About as many time I see you play, I am bamboozled by the Pearl Masters kit that you play, along with the Hardware. With the hardware in mind, I like the way your hi-hats move. What kind of stand are you using, and what kind of clutch are you using?
Interesting question. The drums are actually Pearl Masterworks but the hi hat is an old Sonor Signature hi hat stand (legless with clamp on 2nd bass drum.) I just have an affinity for the old Sonor Phonic and Signature hi hat stands. Even Sonor makes nothing like them today. Pearl ones are good of course but I’m just an old vintage Sonor hat man I suppose…
Saw a Styx-concert on video: “Grand Illusion and Pieces of Eight” Live.
Very impressing drumming, especially on Great White Hope, really good, if I may say so.
The first and last concert I saw was from the Grand Illusion Tour in 1981 (Ahoy – Rotterdam)
So about time I see a concert again.
When are you (Styx) coming to the Netherlands (or Belgium or Germany) again?
We’ve only played the Netherlands once since I’ve been in the band, back in ’05 I think. I answered a note earlier about how expensive it is for us to get over there and that the offered from promoters fall short of what it would financially take to get us over there without losing a boat load of money. That’s the sad fact. But I hold out hope we’ll be back again someday. Thanks for the kind words!
One of the most complicated things for me is getting my drums tuned right. In your opinion is it best to tune by ear or by machine. Thanks so much. Sincerely Marty Hopkins
By ear, absolutely. That’s where we develop our sound before even playing. It’s a skill that takes time and effort. Enjoy the journey.
My name is Jeff Spaulding .. Im 50 and started playing on my first kit the summer after 6th grade 1976 ..
I didn’t embrace the double pedal until about 15 years ago. I still struggle to find a confident competency. I play DW5000 .. very old one’s, single chain. Knowing your a Pearl sponsored player, you use their best.
Q: Is there a significant difference between the DW9000 or the Best Pearl’s, or is it a matter of preference? DW wants a pretty penny for theirs .. I have to watch my funds .. Your brief thoughts?
next …. Cymbals .. I’ve owned most all .. Sabian, Zildjians and Paiste .. again it appears Sabian sponsors you so you get the best of what they have based on your preference.
I love My Zildjian Custom A Brilliant ride … I use Paiste 2002 sound edge 14”hats and a mix of K’s and A’s crashes.. I have a ride pile with an AAX and a Sweet Ride..
I’m close to buying a new Crash 19″ or 20” .. It’s so frustrating buying single cymbals, you never know how they are going to blend with your existing ones.. I own a 18″ Paiste 2002 crash and I have to just sit because it’s voice is nearly offensive in the mix .. Drummers at my level can’t take a cymbal home play it and bring it back and say naw here you go gimme another ..
Q: What can I do except roll the dice … are the cymbal packs sold by manufactures just a mishmash of different cymbals pulled from stock and packaged together or do they ( any of them ) actually try and sonically match therm together …
Thank’s Todd ..I really appreciate your time and how valuable it is … keep working on your stroke brother ..
Congrats on the growing family … See you at a show …
Be Blessed and Peace
With cymbals and pedals it’s all preference. Do you like a Chevy or a Ford? Do you like a BMW or a Mercedes? You know?
Take your cymbal bag full of the cymbals you already own in a cymbal bag to your shop and audition other cymbals WITH what you have. That way you can build a family of sounds…YOUR sounds. Now go have fun and enjoy!
My little 8 year old girl is starting her first all chick band with her church mates at school?… My ringing head, I got my buddy steve lukather for thoughts on the axe training for her! But she really wants to play the drums, I’ve taken her to see you twice and show her your Videos, but anything you can recommend for her, she’s getting the timing thing, but she needs beginning help, your thoughts? Thank you buddy! I’m coming here because I’ve seen them all ( drummers) and you are the best on the planet! I’m writing you in secret, because Gary durett is helping now, he’s a wonderful friend, he’s from juice newtons band, and very good, but he’s not you! Thanks a lot and we will be at your next gig here in Los Angeles, front row! Thanks again, I hope you get this. steve legino, Glendale, cal, 818-371-7575 p.s. I do not need anything from you or the band, I’m in the biz I can get all that stuff! So just your thoughts so she does not develop bad habits ! Thanks again!
Multiple teachers helps in a large way. Other peole for her to play music with too. And as far as my advice goes, I have 9 hours worth in my Methods and Mechanics DVDs (1 and 2) that have won multiple awards for instructional DVDS….so you can get them here. I hope they help!
Enjoy, and my best to you both-
Todd, sorry for the ridiculous subject line. Maybe I had one too many tequila drinks tonight! 🙂 rarely do i think of bothering anyone, but I was totally blown away by your playing on what I always thought was a fairly rudimentary, though hit song, “come sail away.” I watched a Styx recording on TV out of semi- interest then rewound 5 times just to hear your fills and musicality ( is that a word)? You added depth and power to that song, but power that fed the music, which really blew me away. So many drummers play fills hoping to impress someone, powering past the melody, but your playing and fills, while powerful, complemented the music. I’ve played drums off/on for 30 years, sometimes with a band (most of the time on my own and in my head) and have now played guitar for the last 3 years. So I have some sense of the music for whatever that is worth.
In a musical world where it seems most drummers think it’s hip to play 4 piece kits on stage (sorry…..my hang-up), I love your old school 9, 10 piece, whatever it is drum kit. (by the way, I’ve seen you play a be bop kit and dug that as well)
I bought your instructional CD a few years ago which was awesome, but accidentally seeing the video tonight…. Man, again I was blown away. Anyway, I’m old (49), live in San Diego, and work a semi- exciting but not-made-for-realityTV commercial real estate job— – If you had some time off from touring and thought you could make one simple man’s moment, I would love to take a single 1 hour lesson from you….seriously…. If all I got was your 1 hour philosophy on drumming within a band that would be magical.
Really……. all in all I’m not a wierdo or some freak…… just a semi-dude seriously impressed by your work.
If you stuck with me this far. Thanks
Sent from my iPad
Thanks for the kind words! Go to Facebook and “like” the Official Todd Sucherman page. About twice a year I make an announcement offering lessons from my studio and people fly in from all over the country for lesson slots. So stay tuned if you are interested.
I work in a drum shop in New Jersey (no jokes please).
I play M&M 1 and 2 endlessly in the shop and own the videos personally.
I sold a copy to one of my drum instructors recently and he was very complementary and wanted
me to find the head you used in M&M 2 on your snare drum, it was a black mute type head.
I called and spoke with my Pearl rep, but we are not sure it is a Pearl product.
Any help or info you can give would be very appreciated.
Once again thanks and congratulations to you and your wife on the birth of you child.
Thanks for the support by playing the DVDs! The head is indeed from Pearl from their Rhythm Traveler kit….it’s a mesh/screen type silent head. Your Pearl rep should know exactly what it is. I hope I’ve helped!
Thanks again and my best to you-
Just wanted to drop a line and say Congratulations to both you and Taylor on the birth of your baby! Fatherhood is quite like no other! I’ve thoroughly enjoyed your playing, instruction, inspiration, and genuine nature through everything you do. As a new second time father with a span of almost 13 years between my boys, I’m looking forward to the years ahead and the challenges it will bring (oh…and my wife and I figured out how this all happens, so this will be our last!) Although I own more Styx records on vinyl, we own every Taylor Mills record on CD, and truly enjoy Taylor’s talent (the backup band isn’t too shabby too). We’re looking forward to seeing Styx when you tour this Summer in Scranton, PA (I think it’s a fourth of July show…what could be better!) Take care, get some rest, and we’ll see you soon.
All the Best,
Kevin & Dana Siebecker
Hi Kevin and Dana,
Thanks for all the kind words! And the fact you have and dig Taylor’s CDs in a great compliment indeed. Thanks so very much…and yes, it’s amazing to be a father.
I hope you guys have a blast at the show this summer.
First off, I know you must hear this an awful lot, but I wanted to tell you that you are and have to be one of the most inspirational and best drummers on this planet. I love to hear you play and I must have watched Methods and Mechanics a billion times. It never gets old. For the past couple of year however, I have hit a pretty bad rough spot with my playing. Because you have always been a tremendous influence on me, I wanted to share this with you and ask you a question.
I was wondering if I could ask you for some advice. Lately I have been having some problems practicing and enjoying playing the drums. It is something I am serious about and I am going to school for it. But lately I have also been very discouraged because I feel like I do not get anywhere when I do practice. My drumming can improve in many ways and it is becoming to the point where I am uncomfortable on my own drum set. This happens especially when I see my favorite drummers and what they have accomplished and I would like to do what they do. I have a lot of goals for myself and I am afraid of not getting to those goals. It has gotten to the point where I feel sick to my stomach and sometimes emotional because I don’t know what to do to get over this. I remember I used to go right after school to my drums and just play for hours. It was so much fun and it was the only thing that mattered to me. Then I began taking lessons on drums and that is when
things got irritating in a sense. Someone was trying to teach me things and I did not like it. I just wanted to play and have fun and the growing aspect of drum set seemed to be slow and boring. I hate saying that, believe me. Since I have left for school(I am currently a senior in college and almost done with my degree in music education), much of my focus has been towards other aspects of percussion, like snare drum, mallet percussion, timpani, etc. There is nothing wrong with that at all and I enjoy it very much, but I miss drum set. I have tried getting involved with groups and churches and other opportunities to allow me to play drum set, but time was a factor because of school. I miss playing in a band(rock band, jazz, death metal, at this point I don’t care what genre I play), working on my chops(hand and foot technique, etc), playing to my IPOD, just playing in general. I have even being thinking about getting new gear and starting over. My
current drum set is over 10 years and I think it is time to retire it. I am sure that you get so many emails about many different topics, but I hope this email finds it way to you and that even if you just read it would be wonderful. I would love to hear from you, but if I do not, I completely understand. Mainly just for you to know that even that I am struggling right now with this predicament, you always have and always will be one of favorites and that I hope to be the drummer I wanted to be since I started playing. Thank you for your time.
P.S. Congratulations on the birth of your daughter. I have seen pictures on your Facebook and she is beautiful.
Thanks for the kind words…and now on to this….
You have to love your instrument. Go get a kit that makes your heart go pitter pat. It will inspire you to spend time with it.
It’s a shit load of work to be good. It’s just as painful to be good at something as it it to be bad at it. If you just want to “have fun”, it will never be real for you. People who want to have fun playing baseball end up in local softball teams. People who put in the serious work end up in the major leagues. This is no different. It’s up to you.
Be organized. If you’ve seen the Methods & Mechanics 1 DVD many times, review the bits about practicing that happen very early in disc one (voice over with outdoor sunrise playing.) Those are all TRUE. Play that over and over and let it sink in.
Author your own destiny and create your own luck. Sounds trite but it is fact. There are no shortcuts to getting where you want to go for anything in life. Enjoy the work, enjoy the journey, enjoy the process of improving. If you can do that you’re on your way. If you look at a tall mountain that seems unclimbable, you lay down to defeat. Again, this is what separates the men from the boys.
I hope I’ve helped! Go make it happen. No one can do it but you-